Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Wildfires? Everything You Need to Know

Does homeowner insurance cover wildfires and damages caused to the property because of fire? In this article, we discuss whether your basic home insurance policy covers wildfires and other forms of fire outbreaks.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fires?

Generally, a basic homeowner insurance plan covers damages to the home, especially if these damages are caused by wildfires.

The policy typically covers fire-related damage both to the main structure of the home and detached or outbuildings, such as sheds and garages.

Facts About Getting Homeowners Insurance in Wildfire Areas

While it is nice to have fire coverage on your home insurance, it may not be so good in all cases. For example, the policy may not be available if you live in high-risk areas, which are areas that are more susceptible to wildfires.

In some cases, these areas are subject to higher premiums, because of the risks associated with frequent wildfire outbreaks. Also, your homeowner’s insurance company may entirely decline the policy if it has had more records of wildfire outbreaks recently.

Another fact to note is that wildfire insurance is not covered if the fire was intentional. For example, intentionally setting fire to your home may not be able to get you a claim.

Does Home Insurance Cover Fires? See What It Covers

Your regular homeowner’s insurance protects the home, its structure, content, and additional structures from wildfire.

Here are some of the items or perils covered by the policy:

Personal Property Damage

Both the building and its content are covered with homeowner’s insurance. Likewise, the personal properties you have inside there are also covered.

For your personal properties, considerations are always made for clothing, electronics, and furniture. Your kitchen appliances may also be covered.

However, one thing you must do before making a claim is to be certain of the limits. The limits are the extent of the personal property coverage. For example, if you have a 50% limit with a $250,000 home insurance coverage, you would only be able to get $125,000 as the payout for property damage.

Therefore, it is important to assess the value of your properties. If they are below your expectation, it may be wise to purchase more coverage. That way, you will get more limits if your properties are destroyed by wildfire.

Dwelling Coverage

Dwelling coverage is the basic coverage that comes with wildfire insurance for homeowners. The coverage helps the home insurance company to pay for the repair of your burnt home. If the home is beyond repair, the insurer will have to build a new one.

Your dwelling coverage covers the costs of repairing or rebuilding the home, up to its policy’s limits. Both the home and its attached structures (sheds and garages) will be covered with the policy.

Note that the limits of the dwelling coverage of home insurance are based on the current labor costs and building materials.

Aside from wildfire-related damages, the dwelling coverage also covers the repair or rebuilding of the home for damages from other named perils.

Landscaping Coverage

Your landscape (lawns, trees, and shrubs) may be at risk of fire damage when there is a wildfire outbreak.

Luckily, the homeowner’s insurance offers coverage for this type of damage. The only downside is that the coverage limits are lower. Depending on the insurance company, you can get anywhere between 10% and 20% of the homeowner’s insurance policy limits.

Another thing to have in mind is that some insurance companies may pay a fixed amount for wildfire-related damages to your landscape.

Wildfire Insurance Covers Additional Living Expenses

Does your home become “unlivable” after the wildfire outbreak? You wouldn’t be able to live there comfortably except if it is refurbished or rebuilt.

Rather than become homeless, your homeowner’s insurance policy provides “additional living expenses.” It covers the extra expenses you didn’t plan to make but you now have to because your home is under renovation or being rebuilt.

The additional living expenses coverage includes:

  • The cost of getting a temporal living place, such as a self-service apartment or living in a hotel.
  • Laundry services.
  • Restaurant bills or feeding expenses.

Liability Coverage

Do you know that you may be liable for third-party damages? It happens when the fire in your home spreads to your neighbors.

You can now see that not only your home is gutted by fire, but also your neighbors. In most cases, your neighbor would sue you in court, even if you didn’t start the fire intentionally.

What to do? Make a homeowner’s insurance claim for wildfire. Your insurance company would pay the third-party damages or liability coverage to repair or rebuild your neighbor’s home. Just like your home, the coverage would cover the personal property, attached structures, and landscape of your neighbor.

How Much Would My Homeowner’s Insurance Payout for Wildfire?

How much would your home insurance company pay for damages caused by wildfire? There is no definite amount because it all varies by the insurance provider and the policy’s limits.

The best way to determine the claim amount is to be sure of the policy’s limits. For example, if your dwelling coverage has a $250,000 limit, you would get the exact amount to repair or rebuild your burnt home.

However, you may have to pay some out-of-the-pocket expenses if the policy’s limits are beyond the current cost of fixing the home. For example, if the current cost of rebuilding or repairing the home is $270,000 and your limit is $250,000, the additional $20,000 is yours to pay.

That is why it is important to be sure of the policy’s limit and increase it with time. That way, you will have more coverage options and an increased limit when you want to make a claim.

FAQs

Does Home Insurance Cover Fire Caused by Cigarette?

Do you smoke or have a guest that does? That might be putting your home in harm’s way, especially if the cigarette smoke causes a fire outbreak.

But is your homeowner’s insurance enough to cover such damages?

According to Bankrate, damages caused in the home because of cigarette smoke can be insured. This is provided that the accident or fire outbreak wasn’t intentional.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fire Caused by Earthquake?

Your homeowner’s and renter’s insurance don’t cover damages caused directly by an earthquake. The policy only covers the damages if a fire outbreak happens because of an earthquake and if your home becomes uninhabitable because of that.

Does Home Insurance Cover Candle Fires?

Candle-triggered fire outbreak in the home is covered with home insurance, especially if isn’t intentional.

Conclusion

Your basic homeowner’s insurance covers dames to your home and personal belongings, especially if they were caused by wildfire. Intentional fire outbreaks, including arson, are typically excluded from the policy.

Also, note that the coverage options and limits vary by location and policy provider. Earthquake-prone areas may not get as much attention as areas that have fewer records of quakes. Lastly, consult your homeowner’s insurance provider to get an idea of your coverage options, policy limits, and additional information you need to know about wildfire insurance.

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